The White House’s coronavirus pandemic task force held another briefing late Wednesday afternoon, as the Senate agreed to a $2 trillion economic stimulus package.
President Trump expressed his support for the bill, saying he plans to sign it immediately. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his “expectation is that this bill passes tonight” and checks could be in the mail within three weeks.
It would provide tax rebates, four months expanded unemployment benefits and business tax-relief provisions, in addition to checks for most Americans.
The President added that he hopes parts of the nation will be able to return to work and school soon, possibly by Easter. He approved major disaster declarations on Wednesday for New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and Florida.
According to the commander-in-chief, testing capacity is growing “exponentially,” while the gap continues to close between the number of people who need the tests and those available for them.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2020
The President also said, “Our country was built to get back to work. We don’t have a country where they say, ‘Hey, let’s close it down for two years.’ We can’t do that. It’s not our country.”
In terms of how long a stimulus could sustain the U.S. economy, Trump replied, “Hopefully a long time. We’ll see. If we have to go back, we’ll go back.”
Wednesday marks day 10 of the 15-day period of the White House’s “15 Days To Slow The Spread initiative.” The President said Wednesday, “we’ll be speaking to everybody” about what follows and that “it’ll be an interesting period of time.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned of the inevitability of a second wave of COVID-19 unless proper protocol is followed, basing the concern on projections in other countries that have already endured cycles of the virus.